What Eddie Hearn’s UK DAZN deal means for Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury, Sky Sports and Dillian Whyte’s next fight
The landscape of British boxing is set for a drastic change over the next few months.
Matchroom chairman Eddie Hearn has reportedly agreed a mega money deal which will see him leave Sky Sports and promote exclusively on streaming service DAZN for the next five years.
But what exactly does this mean for DAZN, Sky and Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury?
What is Eddie Hearn’s UK DAZN deal?
Since 2012, Hearn has promoted boxing on Sky Sports as their exclusive partner in the UK and Ireland.
All of Hearn’s Matchroom UK shows have been broadcast on Sky for the past nine years, but things are about to change.
According to The Athletic, Hearn has reportedly agreed a nine-figure, five-year deal to leave Sky and instead take his stable over to DAZN.
The new broadcaster is a fledgling OTT streaming service which, while already established in a few markets across the world, only recently launched globally (including in the UK).
In America, Hearn is already partnered with DAZN.
Both Matchroom USA and DAZN USA launched simultaneously back in 2018, announcing a massive $1billion, eight-year deal with the aim of taking over the boxing landscape in America.
This takeover hasn’t got exactly to plan with a pandemic causing problems as well as numerous other bumps in the road.
But, as things stand today, Matchroom/DAZN are one of the ‘big three’ forces in US boxing alongside Top Rank/ESPN and PBC/FOX/Showtime.
Their current price point in the UK is a subscription fee of just £1.99 per month, but it is expected that this will rise as they acquire more content and it’ll likely go up once the new Matchroom deal kicks in on July 1.
What does this mean for Sky Sports?
It is currently unclear what this deal will mean for Sky Sports long term.
They have three shows left to run on their current deal with Matchroom – Derek Chisora vs Joseph Parker (May 1), Terri Harper vs Hyun Mi Choi (May 15) and a third show in June.
The third and final event is expected to be headlined by Lewis Ritson vs Jeremias Ponce in Newcastle.
After this, they will seemingly have a void to fill and it is too early to say whether Sky will look to forge a fresh exclusive partnership with a new promoter or instead stage attractive events on an individual basis.
It is also far from certain that Sky are going to lose their two biggest stars – Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte…
What impact will it have on Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury?
While this DAZN deal does cater for the majority of Hearn’s Matchroom stable, it’s reported that there will be two significant omissions.
Anthony Joshua is the first of these – he is such a sizeable pay-per-view star, so negotiates his own broadcast deal with Sky.
As things stand, he has one bout left on his contract which is set to be the undisputed showdown against Tyson Fury in July/August – a joint Sky/BT PPV.
However, it is known that Joshua vs Fury is set to be a two-fight deal. By the time of the rematch, AJ’s contract with Sky will have expired and the UK broadcast situation will be up in the air.
What will happen with Dillian Whyte’s next fight?
It’s reported that Whyte is the second omission from the deal.
As another PPV fighter in his own right, Whyte negotiates his bouts on a fight-by-fight basis with Hearn and so (like Joshua once his current Sky deal expires) will be able to fight on whichever platform he chooses.
The choice for both men will be interesting as DAZN currently don’t offer a PPV platform, but have still been willing to pay big money in the US to secure PPV stars such as Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin for their subscription service.
What else will change on DAZN?
Hearn has refused to confirm or deny any reports regarding this deal, preferring to wait until the time of their official announcement.
However, he did reveal an interesting fact to iFL TV, explaining that from the new deal onwards, their own in-house company Matchroom Media will handle all production for their shows.
Hearn said: “Matchroom Media will be running the production for our live events in boxing from now.
“That will be down to the lighting, the ring walks, the look and the feel, the talent, the broadcast team, everything.
“We create a narrative for fighters and fights, we sell the story, cradle to grave. From the inception to the delivery it has to be solid, it has to follow a flow and I need to be able to create that.
“WWE, exactly the same thing. WWE productions create their production, their talent their look and feel – that’s important to me.
“Any deal now will see us create our own talent/presentation team, commentary team, broadcast team, social media team, shoulder content/documentary team.
“Any deal will come with a huge arsenal of production, content, shoulder programming, digital content and we will be looking to build an unstoppable team of talent.”